Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day Part 2

Continued from part 1

"It's very simple," Cookies said. "First, you need a cloak. You can't be mysterious without a cloak. You need a single flower. Roses are too overdone, perhaps a daisy. Daises are sweet and innocent. Then, you need to arrive about fifteen minutes early and sit in a public spot. That way, she can see you and know you've shown up. Where are you supposed to meet?"

"At the patio doors in the moonlight," Pumble answered.

"How romantic," Hairy sighed. The seals sighed as well, blinking dreamy black eyes. Cookies rolled his eyes.

"You three make me want to gag," he muttered. "Well, what you must do is go to the patio doors at 11:45 and sit in the direct moonlight. She can't miss you there."

"Are you nervous?" the first duck asked.

"What do you think she'll look like?" the second duck asked.

"I'd be terrified," the third duck confessed.

"I'm not scared," Pumble said, trying to put a jovial tone in his voice. "It'll be great fun! I'm sure I'll have a great story out of it." He suddenly had a thought and narrowed his eyes. "Unless one of you jokers wrote this note and is setting me up."

"We would never write a note!" the first duck protested.

"It's not our thing!" the second duck explained.

"It would be very mean," the third duck whispered. Pumble looked at Cookies and Hairy.

"Don't look at us," Hairy said. "We've been with you the entire day. And the seals delivered the note."

"True," Pumble said. He stretched and pulled himself out of the now cool hot tub. "I say we celebrate my midnight rendezvous with a snack!" he said cheerfully. "Who's up for honey and biscuits?"

After the people had come home and gone to bed, the hours crept by. Pumble watched the time carefully, feeling as though midnight would never get there. Finally, at 11:37, he wrapped himself in a sweatshirt for a cloak and crept out of the bedroom, careful to open the door so it didn't squeak. The boy slept lightly, and Pumble couldn't risk getting caught.

Carefully, Pumble crept down the hallway. He heard noise behind him and turned sharply. He could only see a dark outline in the black that surrounded him. "Who are you?" he hissed. "Identify yourself!"

"Good Lord, it's us," Cookies disgusted voice whispered. "Don't be so dramatic. Who did you think it would be? A robber?"

"We want to come support you!" Hairy said sweetly. The seals yipped quietly in agreement.

"What about the ducks?" Pumble asked. "They stayed behind to act as an alarm," Hairy said. "Good," Pumble nodded. "Let's go."

They crept carefully into the living room and around the kitchen cabinet. The seals kept giggling in excitement and clapping their flippers lightly. "Shush!" Hairy would say gently. "We have to be quiet on a rendezvous."

"You stay here," Pumble said. "I'm going to go stand in the moonlight."

"Be sure you have your cloak!" Cookies advised.

"Have fun!" Hairy said cheerfully. The seals gurgled and wished him well. Pumble crept silently into the kitchen and plopped down on the vinyl floor. It was 11:47.

At 11:52, Pumble began to play with his cloak. First he made it into a hat, then into a loin cloth. At a indignant hiss from Cookies, he fixed his cloak and sat sulking on the floor.

At 11:56, Pumble began to play with the daisy. He balanced it on his nose and tried to balance it on the stinger. It fell and he tripped on it, falling and squishing it with his belly. He got up and hastily tried to reattach some of the petals. Hairy smacked his forehead and Cookies began to beat his head into the wall.

At 11:59, Pumble stood anxiously holding his tattered daisy in his crooked cloak, growing nervous. What if she didn't show up? What if she didn't come? What if she wasn't a she? What if this was all a cruel joke? He felt the adrenaline course through his veins. What if---

"Hello, Valentine," a sweet low voice said. He could hear Hairy and Cookies gasp and the seals giggle. "Happy Valentine's day!" the shadowy figure said. A small hand held out a Valentine.

"Happy Valentine's Day!" Pumble said, holding out the tattered flower. He stuttered, "I'm sorry, I accidentally fell--"

"It's beautiful!" the figure exclaimed. She pressed it to her nose. "Thank you so much for meeting me. It was nice of you. See, I've admired you for months."

"Months?" Pumble said, confused. "I don't believe I've ever met you before."

"I stopped by a long time ago," the figure reassured him. "We never actually met, but I saw you through a window."

"I must admit, I'm quite flattered," Pumble said. "I've never had a secret admirer or a midnight rendezvous before. I was actually nervous."

"Told you," Cookies muttered to Hairy softly.

"I was nervous too," the figure admitted. "But, I figured there was no harm in trying. So, happy Valentine's Day." The figure turned to leave.

"Wait!" Pumble said, rushing towards her. "I haven't seen your face!"

The figure turned and slowly walked back into the light. Pumble gasped. "You!" he cried. "I can't believe it!"

"It was nice to see you," the Ladybug said softly. "I must go now. I have to get back home before it gets too cold. Thank you for being my Valentine."

"When will you come back?" Pumble said, taking another step forward. "I'd like to see you again."

"Soon," the Ladybug smiled. "Soon. I will return to you, Valentine."

With a smile and a wave, she gently flew out the patio doors into the midnight. Pumble heard her faint whisper in the cool wind that blew by his ear, "Maybe you'll have a story for me next time..."

Pumble stood grinning dumbly at the doors as Cookies and Hairy rushed forward. "Who was that?" they cried. "We didn't recognize her at all."

"Was she nice?" Hairy asked.

"Was she pretty?" Cookies demanded. The seals barked and whined, wiggling their tales.

"Yes, yes and yes," Pumble said dreamily. Cookies stared at him in frustration. "Who was she?" he cried.

Pumble smiled serenely. "She was my Valentine."